> Queer Books Please: Do lesbians like Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Do lesbians like Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy?

I can't think of another series of books that have left me so confused about simple questions like: are these books any good? did I enjoy them? Simple questions, you'd think, but when I was reading them I often found myself laughing out loud at long digressions on coffee and horrible sounding sandwiches, weird product placement, bizarre pacing choices. And then there's basic concerns about what the book is actually about, the horrific violence, the rape and revenge plot line, and what I can only characterize as general batshit insanity. 

That being said, one of the ways I gauge my enjoyment of a book or books is how quickly I read them, and I burned through GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE and GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST like wildfire. I also like to use re-readability as a measure of my enjoyment--will I still like the book even if I know all the twists and turns? And a key thing that can get me to reread something is a character that I love.

 Lisbeth Salander counts as a character I love. I know that she's basically a wish wrapped in a dream, a kick ass, hypersexual, genius, bisexual hacker superhero. I know that when I read these books, I thought about the fact that they were published after Mr. Larsson's death, and I wondered if he'd been alive if an editor might have called him up and said "Hey do you think Lisbeth is a little too awesome?"

But there's something about her--the abrasiveness and the complete dismissal of society, perhaps--that's just captivating. And yeah, writing this little piece makes me want to go reread the series, so I guess in that sense I'd say I enjoyed these books.

I have been wondering, though, if most lesbian readers feel the same way, or if the bisexuality and the violence against women make this not such an appealing choice for queer readers.

The Lesbrary has a lot of reviews for lesbian type books, and I did find a review for GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. Reviewer Laura Mandanas writes a mostly positive review, also rightly pointing out that the book might be triggery due to murder, animal abuse, sexual violence, etc.

I tried using google and scanning through some of the other lesbian review sites I could find, but couldn't find any other reviews coming explicitly from a lesbian point of view.

I did hop onto goodreads and checked out the ratings and reviews by readers who specifically shelved the book as either queer or lbgt--those readers aren't necessarily gay or lesbian themselves, but if they are categorizing the book as queer that says something about their point of view. The average rating of those readers was 4.13--which is pretty good! No reviews lower than a 3. I don't use the goodreads reviews much, but I do tend to take note of anything with an average higher than 4.

There were three written reviews in my queer/lgbt sample and I noticed that two of the three specifically mention the character of Lisbeth being what drew them in.

Can I draw any conclusions from this research? I certainly didn't find any strong condemnations of the book from lesbian and queer reviewers, which makes me think that I can recommend checking this series out if you haven't all ready. With the caveat that it's violence and weirdly paced and not edited very much and kind of bat shit crazy! But if those sound like the kind of things that you might find entertaining rather than off putting, give the books a try.

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